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The cite and pubdate attributes

From: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 13:48:41 +0200
Message-ID: <4A800919.7040906@lachy.id.au>
To: public-html <public-html@w3.org>
Hi,
   The cite and pubdate attributes now defined for the article and 
section elements don't seem to be very well designed.  It's not entirely 
clear what problem they are meant to solve, or use cases they are 
addressing.  They also violate the usual visible metadata pattern and 
duplicate much of the functionality of other features that are already 
in the spec.

Specifically, the time element can be used for marking up a date and 
time.  The only benefit that pubdate currently has over reusing the time 
element is that it is directly associated with the specific article. 
But there are possibly other ways in which this could be achieved by 
finding a way to associate the time element with the sectioning element.

See the possible solutions we discussed briefly in IRC.

http://krijnhoetmer.nl/irc-logs/whatwg/20090810#l-290

Similarly, the cite attribute duplicates functionality of the <cite> 
elmement combined with <a href>.  Again, this issue could be addressed 
by finding a way of more semantically linking the cite element with the 
sectioning element.  The solution we find for this should also apply to 
the blockquote element, so we can replace its cite attribute.

 From my experience, it's common to see the addressed used in the 
blockquote element's cite attribute is often duplicated in the 
surrounding prose, which makes the value of the attribute itself 
somewhat harmful in that it encourages unnecessary repetition.  This 
behaviour is likely to be repeated by authors for both the section and 
article element, and I don't think that's a good thing to encourage.

As an example of this, see this markup used for the quotes in this 
recent article:

http://diveintomark.org/archives/2009/08/04/open-for-your-input

IMHO, the cite attribute should be removed from the section, article and 
blockquote elements, and should be made a downplayed error for the 
blockquote element.  (I'm also hoping you will revert the obsolete but 
conforming section back to non-conforming with downplayed errors.)

-- 
Lachlan Hunt - Opera Software
http://lachy.id.au/
http://www.opera.com/
Received on Monday, 10 August 2009 11:49:21 UTC

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